Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review: Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor

Title: Beyond The Moon
Author: Catherine Taylor
Publication: June 26th 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: 3/5

Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later.

*Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2018/19

"The characterization is spot-on, as is the historical time-line. Beyond the Moon is not only a page-turner but an intelligent appraisal of medicine, psychology and mental illness over the years. Historical fantasy at its very best." — Historical Novel Society"

"A poignant and stirring love story... Taylor’s accomplished, genre-bending book succeeds as a WW1 historical novel and a beguiling, time travel romance... The sharply written narrative deftly moves back and forth between the past and present." — Kirkus Reviews

A time travel romance, yet so much more than that. It is also an unflinching portrait of the horrors of war, and a look at the torturous extremes a human soul can endure. It is a sonnet to the transformative power of love, even as it is also a criticism of the futility and pointless destructiveness of war." — Shaylin Gandhi, author of By The Light of Embers.

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide - and become one desperate struggle to be together.

Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story - and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art - Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time. An intelligent read, perfect for book clubs.

For fans of Diana Gabaldon, Amy Harmon, Beatriz Williams, Kate Quinn, Kristin Hannah, Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley and Paullina Simons.

*NB This novel contains graphic descriptions of war violence and injuries, as well as profanity and mild sex.

My feelings about this book are a bit mixed. On the one hand it was an entertaining read that I enjoyed and read pretty quickly but on the other hand it wasn't the best book I've read either. It definitely had a unique factor that I appreciated because I haven't read any book like it and at the same time some things in the story were a bit far-fetched and because of that I lost my interest a bit, especially towards the end. 

I'll start with the things I enjoyed the most. I really enjoyed the chapters taking place in World War I. It's a terrible but fascinating era and as a history buff I can't help but be most drawn to those chapters, especially when it was about the warfare. I thought Catherine Taylor did an excellent job describing it all. The writing of that was really great. I also enjoyed the chapters in the point of view of Lieutenant Robert Lovett, the soldier and artist. I really liked reading about him. Mostly because those chapters took place in the past, and also because he was just a great character. I loved him.

This doesn't mean I didn't like Louise's chapters but I just didn't feel as connected with her as I did with Robert. I wasn't a fan of the dialogue in the book, either. The descriptions and everything were very good to read but when it came to the dialogue it was a whole lot less enjoyable to me. Also, I didn't quite believe the romance. It went a bit fast for my taste so there definitely was a case of insta-love and I'm more of a slow-burn romance fan. It was all a bit questionable when it came to Louise and Robert as being in love.

So to sum it all up... the writing, the setting and my overall feelings about this book are good. There were just those little things that bothered me and partly stopped me from fully enjoying the story. 

About the author:
I was born and grew up on the small island of Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands in the English Channel. My mother was a professional landscape artist, so I grew up in an environment where it was a very normal thing to want to make a living from your art. Which is just as well, because I’m someone who always knew she wanted to be a writer, and if I’d had parents who’d harboured hopes of me becoming a tax accountant or a corporate lawyer, they’d have been sorely disappointed.
Read more about her on
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


  1. I like the concept of the time traveling, but it sounds like the execution didn't quite work. Hope your next book works better!

  2. 3 star ratings are so hard to put into words.

  3. I've never heard of this book before, but it sounds interesting! I am looking to read more historical fiction this year. I'm sorry it wasn't as great of a read as you were hoping, though. The romance can definitely make or break a book-- I can't list how many books I've enjoyed aspects of but ended up disliking because of romances I felt were underdeveloped. Lovely review :))

    claire @ clairefy

  4. Sorry to hear that thus wasn't a great read for you. It did sound like it has some potential.

  5. Bad dialogue is on my pet peeves, but I do enjoy time travel romances and the "for fans of..." section of the blurb lists a ton of my favorite authors.

  6. The blurb certainly did sound good -- I'm sorry it didn't hold up to that promise though.

  7. Sometimes books don't have to be the best books for us to simply enjoy them a bit and have a nice reading experience. I feel that way about throne of glass lately. They are imperfect but they're still good fun.


Share your thoughts! ♥